Friday, August 12, 2005

Safety Testing

Perhaps you noticed this headline in today's Seattle Times:
Trucks to pose as trains in test on I-90
Aside from the amusing mental picture of trucks playing dress-up, this article brings an interesting question to mind. Isn't it a bit dangerous to be doing a live test of something like this, without checking the math first? In the article, a state DOT manager is quoted as saying: "Floating bridges are so complex. There's so much interaction between cables, water and wind and other things. It's hard to capture all that accurately in computer models." Here's my rough translation of that sentiment: "It seemed kinda hard to figure out beforehand if this was really going to work. I mean really hard. Even if we used computers, and stuff." So they've decided to just give it a go and see what happens. There's an excellent plan, fellas.

Puget Sound traffic engineers trying out something that they're not absolutely sure will work, because they haven't considered all possible failure modes beforehand? Especially something involving a bridge?

What could possibly go wrong?
Remember this?
There's no danger here.
How about this?
It's a flawless plan.
Or maybe this?
Source: Seattle Times
image source, image sourceCategories: News, Local

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